Stewart Hosie has said he will not seek re-election as deputy leader of the Scottish National party after revelations about his private life.
In a letter to his party leader, Nicola Sturgeon, Hosie apologised for the “hurt and upset” he had caused friends, family and colleagues by having an affair with a female journalist, which resulted in the break-up of his marriage with Shona Robison, also a prominent figure in the party.
“As you know I have been admitted to hospital on three occasions in the past few years with very high blood pressure. In that regard, the stress of the intense scrutiny of my private life has been very difficult,” he wrote, before confirming that he would continue as an MP.
“I intend to concentrate on my constituents, my responsibilities at Westminster and, most importantly, my health,” added Hosie, who is also deputy leader within the Westminster group of SNP MPs.
“It has been a pleasure to serve under your leadership and I hope to do so for many years to come,” he told Sturgeon.
Details of the affair with Serena Cowdy, 36, who also allegedly had a relationship with another SNP MP, Angus MacNeil, has caused huge controversy within the party.
It has ended Hosie’s 20-year marriage to Robison, who is the SNP’s health secretary in the Scottish parliament. The pair faced an awkward reunion in their shared Dundee office days ago, but have announced their break-up.
Sturgeon thanked her colleague for the letter and said his decision would not allow time for an election of a successor in advance of the party’s conference. She thanked him for his time in the role.
“During your tenure in office, amongst your many other duties, you have authored two successful election manifestos – providing the policy platform for our victories in both the 2015 general election and the 2016 Scottish parliament election. These are achievements you should be very proud of,” she wrote.
This article was written by Anushka Asthana, for theguardian.com on Sunday 22nd May 2016 15.47 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010